So heading into Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 77 co-headliner with Patrick Cummins (8-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC), Teixeira (23-4 MMA, 6-2 UFC) hopes he can build off a recent “Fight of the Night” victory over Ovince Saint Preux, put together a winning streak, and get another shot at the belt.
“After this fight, I plan to celebrate in my hometown of Sobralia, Minas Gerais,” Teixeira, whose bout airs on FOX Sports 1 from Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, told MMAjunkie. “We’ll be eating some pork rinds and drinking some aged cachaca.
“I feel with this win, I’ll be even closer to another title shot. I want to pressure him and have an excellent performance, as in my last fight. I want to show that I’m ready to fight for the belt. I’ll do my part and wait for the promotion to do theirs.”
Teixeira fell short in his first title bid and lost every round en route to a decision loss to then-champ Jones in April 2014. Six months later, he looked flat in a decision loss to Phil Davis. But with his victory over “OSP” and now a chance to defeat No. 15-ranked Cummins, he could back right back in the title mix.
Does he want a chance to avenge the loss to Jones, or would Cormier (or someone else) suffice?
“It’s hard to talk about Jon Jones,” he said. “I still want to fight him since he defeated me, and he’s one of the best fighters in history. He still has a chance to continue proving that. He’s young. But I’m living my life without worrying about Jon Jones. When he does come back, we’ll be ready for him.”
Part of that confidence comes from recent changes to his training camp.
“I prepared very well for that fight,” he said. “I changed several things in my camp. I have a new trainer who’s pushing my limits. A few small things I changed helped a lot in my performance and my diet. I was coming off two losses, so I didn’t want that to happen again. I started making changes, and now I’m 100 percent focused to fight for the belt one more time.”
He also spent substantial time on his wrestling and wrestling defense, which will no doubt be needed against a former NCAA Division I All-American wrestler like Cummins. After working with the likes of standout wrestlers “King Mo” Lawal and Steve Mocco, Teixeira said he’s ready for Saturday.
“Pat Cummins is an excellent fighter,” he said. “I talked about him before he entered the UFC. I knew he’d enter the UFC and make some noise. He has a very good wrestling base, and he’s learning a lot of striking and jiu-jitsu. He’s a very hard worker. I know his story. But my plan is the same. I’ll show up and put pressure the entire time. I’ll make him fight my fight, not his. I’ll look for a knockout or submission.”